Mark Entwistle

Founding Partner, Acasta Capital

Mark Entwistle was Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Cuba for four years from 1993 to 1997. As Ambassador, he guided all elements of the historically important and delicate relationship with Cuba, including political, commercial and security relations. He was the architect of a dynamic trade development strategy. Canada's trade with Cuba increased markedly, doubling year-over-year for two years in a row and, during his tenure, Canada became Cuba's largest trade and investment partner.

 

Mark served for sixteen years from 1981-1997 as a professional Canadian diplomat. His Foreign Service career included assignments at the Canadian Embassies in Tel Aviv, Israel (1982-1985) and Moscow, in the former Soviet Union (1986-1989), where he was responsible for bilateral relations between Canada and the USSR, and his ambassadorship to Cuba.

 

Beginning in 1989, Mark acquired gritty and extensive practical experience in government operations and communications, acting first as Media Spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs. In 1990, he was senior ministerial aide for Parliamentary Affairs to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, where he managed the relations between the Minister and all institutions of Parliament.

 

In 1991, Mark was seconded to the Prime Minister's Office as Deputy Press Secretary responsible for foreign policy. Months later, he was appointed by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada, to serve as his Press Secretary and director of communications. In that position from 1991-1993, Mark was responsible directly for all aspects of the Prime Minister's relations with the media and the public communication and marketing of the policies of the Canadian federal government on all issues and across the full range of government departments and agencies.

 

He was at the center of planning across government for all policy matters involving the Prime Minister, including national policy initiatives, budget and financial issues, federal- provincial relations and four G-8 Summits, numerous other summit meetings with world leaders.

 

From 1999-2000, Mark also served as Chief of Staff and senior communications advisor to the Right Honourable Joe Clark, also a former Prime Minister and Leader of the then Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

 

As a former Fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI), Mark co-authored the publication In the National Interest: Canadian Foreign Policy in an Insecure World. He is author of the concluding chapter “Canada-Cuba Relations: A Multiple-Personality Foreign Policy” in Robert Wright and Lana Wylie (eds.), Our Place in the Sun: Canada and Cuba in the Castro Era (University of Toronto Press, 2010).

 

Having spent 24 years involved in Cuban affairs, he is one of the world’s leading experts on Cuba. Mark ran a private specialist consultancy in strategic business development in Cuba for 15 years as President of Chibas Consulting Inc., before incorporating that practice within Acasta Capital in 2013, in which he is a Founding Partner. To better serve clients and partners, Acasta has created a robust specialist Cuba business platform called Acasta Cuba Capital (www.acastacc.com). Mark visits Cuba regularly and frequently, and is involved in various projects in that country.   Prior to co-founding Acasta Capital, Mark was Special Advisor to New York-based Teneo Strategy LLC.

 

He is also currently Canadian Managing Partner of Atlantic Advisory Partners (www.atlanticadvisorypartners.com), a joint partnership between Acasta Capital and Spitzberg Partners LLC to provide business counsel to Canadian and European companies to enable them to take full advantage respectively of coming free trade between the European Union and Canada.

 

In a 1997 academic book on the bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba, his tenure as Ambassador to Cuba is described as follows:

 

"Of particular importance is Mark Entwistle ...A tireless and extremely talented negotiator, he is undoubtedly the most dynamic and successful Ambassador to Cuba during the revolutionary period."

 

Mark is a Director of The Belinda Stronach Foundation, of ONE Global (Canada) and of the Institute for World Affairs in Washington D.C.

 

He is the recipient of the prestigious Saul Hayes Award for Human Rights of the

Canadian Jewish Congress for his work in supporting the Cuban Jewish community.

 

As outlined above, Mark Entwistle draws on a rich and integrated mix of professional experience over three decades and across disciplines in business, political risk assessment, diplomacy and international affairs, government relations and operations, public policy issue management and advocacy, as well as strategic communications, media relations and public affairs.

 

Mark obtained his B.A. from the University of Ottawa in 1979 and his M.A. degree in

History from the University of Toronto in 1981.  He works in English, French, Spanish and Russian.